WEST Midlands Police is answering more than nine in 10 of all emergency calls inside the national 10-second standard – despite being one of the busiest forces in the UK.
The force has vowed to continue improving and ‘protect those people most at risk of harm’.
Last year the force took almost three-quarters of a million 999 calls – 12 per cent more than the national average – and is now routinely exceeding required national service standards.
Chief superintendent Sally Bourner, head of force contact, said: “We are here to protect the public and clearly we must concentrate on those who are considered to be in immediate threat or danger.
“We are performing above the national target of contact handlers answering 999 calls within 10 seconds.
“An emergency is when a life is at risk, serious injury has occurred or a crime is happening and offenders are present or nearby.
“Our contact handlers make sure we get the right information to respond in the swiftest and best way possible to an emergency. We are one of the busiest forces in the UK and we have to prioritise what we do to keep people in our communities safe.”
In addition, West Midlands Police took nearly 1.5-million non-emergency 101 calls last year.
Members of the public dialling 101 for non-emergency policing matters may have to wait between two and three minutes to reach a contact handler.
But CS Bourner believes people understand that emergency, sometimes life or death, 999 calls have to take priority.
Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said he is pleased the force has improved its 999 call handling rates and is now performing above national targets.
He added: “That performance is despite unprecedented demand on the service, in particular in the West Midlands where there are 12 per cent more calls to the police compared to the rest of the country.
“In times of huge demands on the police service I understand West Midlands Police’s assessment that emergency 999 calls need to be prioritised.
“I will still be monitoring carefully how long West Midlands Police takes to answer 101 calls and I expect high standards.
“The force need to ensure 101 calls are answered in a reasonable time, to maintain confidence in the system.”